A monument to eggs, sushi and shrimp

These monuments to eggs, sushi and shrimp can be found at a shrine called  Namiyoke Inari Jinja (波除稲荷神社), next to Tsukiji Fish Market. The monuments are dedicated to the eggs and sea creatures that sacrificed their lives so that we could eat them. (Yes, definitely “only in Japan”.)


Here’s the Tamago-zuka (玉子塚) or grave for eggs:


The photo below is the Sushi-zuka (すし塚) and Ebi-zuka (海老 塚) or grave for shrimp:


Read more here (E) and here (J).


New Year’s posters

During the New Year’s period in Tokyo — especially in the more traditional eastern side of the city — many shops and homes put posters on their front doors. Here’s a collection of this year’s examples. Many of them feature a horse, since 2014 is the year of the horse.

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Manga drawings at Kanda Myōjin

Kanda Myōjin is near Akihabara, the centre of manga/anime culture in Tokyo. It attracts many fans as well as wannabe artists, who leave ema (wooden votive tablets) expressing their wishes at the shrine. The messages range from simple wishes for happiness in the year ahead (I took these photos in February) to very specific wishes for success as a manga artist or, in some quirky cases, happiness for a manga character!

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Osōji, the big clean-up

When the end of the year approaches, Japan starts cleaning, and a country that’s already as neat as a pin becomes positively pristine. It’s called osōji (お掃除), the big cleaning before the New Year, and you’re supposed to clean every nook and cranny, every corner and cupboard, until it’s spotless. Houses do it, restaurants do it, temples do it.

Yesterday morning I saw a priest patiently cleaning every item in his small temple in Meguro, looking remarkably jolly about his gargantuan task. As I took a photo of some items on the veranda, he stepped into view. I rather like the end-result of the bowls on the wooden floor, and the two socks entering the scene. He wasn’t angry with me; as a matter of fact, I got a big grin.


Cute groping?

This is the latest anti-chikan (groper) poster at a train station. I was going to grumble about Japan’s tendency to cutify everything, but then I hesitated: is this poster cute or is it simply a graphic depiction? I’ve been here so long that my “inappropriate cuteness radar” has been corrupted.

PS: That little critter thingy with the blue hat is Pipo-kun, the police mascot.